‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ comes to Great River Festival

SAXTONS RIVER — Main Street Arts will present the edgy musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch as part of its upcoming Great River Theater Festival, July 5-7 in Saxtons River.

Billed by Entertainment Weekly as “viciously funny, wildly innovative, and occasionally heartbreaking,” the rock musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask tells the story of transgender punk-rock singer Hedwig's search for stardom and love while dealing with a botched sex-change operation as she tours the U.S. with her band.

“It's certainly not a subject we've explored before on our stage, but it's as timely as it gets in this day and age of fluid gender identity and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising,” said MSA Artistic Director David Stern, who's directing the production.

“It is a darkly funny and poignant work that recalls our newer theatrical works, ranging from Bat Boy to last year's Equus. We think it will appeal not only to the LGBTQ community, but also to those who value people for who they are as individuals, not what they are labeled.”

MSA is staging the work Friday, July 5 and 12, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 6 and 13, at 7 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, July 7, at 7 p.m. The leading role will be played by Izzy Serebrov and Gavy Kessler, both of whom starred in recent MSA productions.

Stern cites “division” as one of the themes of the play, with Hedwig's exploration of her dual personal and sexual identities set against a backdrop of Western culture's emphasis on individuality.

Branded “the best rock musical ever!” by Rolling Stone, the racy musical fable is the winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival. It played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway, with Neil Patrick Harris in the lead, and has been produced around the world.

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